By Express News Service – HYDERABAD
To the mind of 83-year-old Ratna Naik, a shepherd at Duggapur village in Peddammul mandal in Ranga Reddy district, statehood to Telangana was accorded by the Congress government headed by YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
Though TV channels are intruding into the lives of rural folk, not many villagers, particularly those who live in tribal hamlets, are aware that YS Rajasekhara Reddy is no longer alive. They are also not conscious of the fact that Sonia Gandhi, who is heading the Congress, has played a decisive role in making the long-cherished dream of the T-people a reality.
Even though the Congress is undertaking an aggressive campaign by way of commercials on TV channels to claim total credit for the formation of T-state, some inhabitants of tribal hamlets and remote villages in Ranga Reddy district believe that the TRS chief, not the Congress, who brought statehood to their region.
For instance, Purni Bai, a tribal woman in Mansanpally village in Maheswarm mandal, too felt, “Chandrasekhar Rao is the only leader who has made the Ta reality.”
However, Ratna Naik, Purni Bai and some other tribal people, with whom this correspondent had a brief interaction during his tour of the Chevella Lok Sabha constituency, made one point clear: that they would vote for the candidate whose candidature their village head/tribal chieftain would endorse. Thus, these rural folk disclosed the intricacies of Indian democracy in which various factors ‘influence’ the final decision of every elector.
Chevella Lok Sabha constituency, which spreads around Hyderabad, is witnessing a three-horse race to win the coveted seat.
The Congress has fielded former home minister P Sabitha Indra Reddy’s son Karthik Reddy and the TDP-BJP combine another former home minister T Devender Goud’s son Virender Goud while business tycoon Konda Vishweshwar Reddy is taking on these two youngsters on behalf of the TRS.
The 32-year old Karthik Reddy, an engineering graduate, is mostly relying on his party’s traditional vote bank—Reddys, minorities and Dalits. At the same time, he is trying to gain the sympathy of the electors in Chevella, Maheswaram and other Assembly segments adjacent to it by invoking the memories of his late father P Indra Reddy, also a former home minister.
Virender Goud, a management graduate, is trying to win over the hearts of Seemandhra settlers who constitute a sizeable population in Assembly segments such as Maheswaram and Rajendranagar. He is also trying to project himself as a representative of the BCs.
Vishweshwar Reddy, grandson of former deputy chief minister and signatory to the Gentlemen’s Agreement Konda Venkata Ranga Reddy after whom the district is named, is adopting a two-pronged strategy to attract both ‘natives’ and ‘settlers’.
Vishweshwar Reddy is primarily campaigning among Telangana voters and trying to win over their hearts by recalling the 13-year-long fight by the TRS chief for the T-state whereas his wife Sangita Reddy, managing director of Apollo Hospitals, is focusing her attention on colonies inhabited by Seemandhra settlers.
All the three contestants are confident that each of them will emerge victorious from Chevella which is being represented in the Lok Sabha by S Jaipal Reddy.
TDP MLAs P Mahender Reddy and KS Ratnam seem to be facing rough weather in their segments because some TDP workers are not ready to shift their allegiance as their MLAs did. Moreover, they are angry at the MLAs for switching loyalties overnight without informing them.
A hi-tech campaign is being undertaken by all the three contestants in Chevella. Konda Vishweshwar Reddy of the TRS has appointed campaign teams consisting of professional managers.
All the three contestants are competing with one another in undertaking online campaign even on the social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.